Summary Judgment Granted / Water Damage at Retail Store


Attorney Matthew Lindberg secured summary judgment in Middlesex Superior Court in favor of a storekeeper at a mall in Massachusetts.

The defendant storekeeper rented second floor retail space, which included a water heater. The water heater leaked, resulting in damage to retail space on the first floor directly below it. The proprietor of the first floor shop brought a Complaint sounding in negligence and seeking to recover for property damage to fixtures and inventory.

The defendant filed for summary judgment on the grounds that even if the water heater caused the damage, there was no evidence of negligent maintenance on the part of the defendant. In response, the plaintiff sought to re-open discovery. The court denied the plaintiff’s request, finding that: 1. the request to extend discovery was late, and 2. the request was futile. The court found that there was nothing to suggest that further discovery would uncover a genuine issue of material fact. The defendant had stated in Answers to Interrogatories that he had performed maintenance on the water heater as prescribed by the owner’s manual.

Prior to the hearing on the motion for summary judgment, the plaintiff has rejected the plaintiff’s offer of settlement in the amount of approximately 50% of the claimed damages.

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